Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy Saturday!  

Tonight I mixed waffle batter with cornbread dressing and made Thanksgiving waffles.  I topped these waffles with mashed potatoes, roasted turkey slices, gravy and whole berry cranberry sauce.  Totally delicious! 

Just a quick update:  I am not posting this on FB, but letting the readers of the journal know that Bruce and I are getting away for a few days.  The only electronics we are taking with us are our phones.  So, I won’t be posting for several days next week. 

Prayer:  Lord it is much easier to read Scripture than to live Scripture.  All week, as I have thought about serving You, the daily challenge to really put it on the line has increased.  I cannot do this apart from Your power and strength. My natural desire is for comfort, so I ask You to help me follow You in times of testing. You gave Your life for me; now teach me how to give my life for Your kingdom. Amen.

“He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.”
John 12: 25, 26

By God’s good grace a year from now I will be graduated from Brite and well on the way to ordination.  Sometimes I get a little scared and wonder if I am doing the right thing.  Am I really following God’s calling?  As I am nearing the end of my schooling sometimes I wonder if will there be a job for me out there.  Am I willing to sacrifice time away from my family for the “sake of the call?” Will I ever be able to pay back the massive financial debt incurred while pursuing this calling I have been so sure (most of the time) I have been called to act upon?  

A Kairos brother of Bruce’s is an Air Force fighter pilot trainer. He says that the enemy doesn’t start shooting at you until you are close to the target.  What a great analogy!  I am nearing the end of the preparatory path and will embark on the mission of the gospel and Satan has begun to plant the seeds of doubt. 

Following Jesus is not always easy; it is not always simple and honestly it is not always fun.  But Jesus has called us to follow Him wherever He goes and to go where He sends us. We are called to act on His behalf being led by the Holy Spirit.  When I think about why I do this, I remember the call God placed on me while I sat on that bench outside the elevator at MD Anderson. I held and attempted to comfort the young wife who was crying over the devastating illness her husband was facing, giving her the words God put on my heart and in my mouth. I remember why I do this.  I remember that I not only want people to see God in me, but I want those I encounter to know how God sees them so they can see how God lives in them.  I remember that I want to help those who are dying to die with the hope of the resurrection and their families to live on in that same hope of resurrection. 

When we follow Jesus there are always choices to be made.  I know that I cannot always have my way and follow Him.  But once I choose Him then I know that all of my goals, desires and ambitions must fall in line with those of Christ.  I do not promise to do everything right, but I do choose to follow Christ. Say your prayers my friends.

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  Count your blessings and say your prayers.  See you in worship. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni, Travis and Sarah.     

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe and I believe God. 

Happy Friday! 

Today was spent largely trying to set a schedule for classes.  I signed up for one class that was cancelled due to low enrollment. I selected another class and received an email telling me that this class too was being cancelled due to low enrollment.  A bit of frustration was beginning to set in, but the folks at Brite are really wonderful and continued to work this problem until a solution was achieved.  I am taking a class in one area that is being counted for another area so I can count it for a required class.  Then, this summer, I will get the priority ride into a history class at which time my required classes will be complete with the exception of Disciples History that is offered this coming fall. I finally stopped to eat lunch around 3:00.  It was quite a day!

Prayer:  Lord, as I begin this day help me to remember Who is in charge. I am here to serve You. I am sure at some point I am going to forget or be tempted to serve another. I am asking the Holy Spirit to keep a check on my faithfulness. I don’t want to live with a divided heart and mind. Everything I have in my life has come from Your hand of grace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Matthew 6: 24

Tonight my meditation uses an excellent analogy to go along with the scripture passage.  “The sign read, ‘Help Wanted:  Part Time.”  WOW!   God comes into our lives through the blood of Jesus and remains with us full time forever. Our part is to remain faithful to God in our relationship with Jesus forever, day in and day out, in sadness and gladness and in victory or seeming defeat.  We cannot be part time Christians serving a full time God. This is one of those times we must get this relationship thing right. 

When we marry our spouses we make those vows before God and promises to our spouses choosing to live our lives with them for the rest of our lives.  When I chose to live my life with Bruce I chose to sever any other relationships that would compete for my loyalty to him.  When we choose to have a relationship with Christ we must sever any other relationships that would distract us for our loyalty and commitment to Him.  Anything less than a devoted life to God through Christ is a part time relationship and is not what God desires.  We do not have a part time God we have a full time eternal God who is full of grace and love that never ends and who chooses us every day.

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Count your blessings and say your prayers.  Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni, Travis and Sarah.     

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe and I believe God. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy Thursday! 

I was so blessed to get to spend the day with one of my dearest friends, Tammy Dugan.  She was the principal at Burton Hill when I retired, was a great friend during the time I taught and remains a close friend today.  We went to the new outlet mall in Grand Prairie.  Very cool place.  Definitely going to return! I love girl days!!

Also, I received an email from Brite today telling me that one of my classes was not going to make due to low enrollment.  I was given the option of swapping the class or taking a different history class this summer.  I have decided to do both. My new class is Exegesis in Hebrew Bible:  Exodus.  I love the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Old Testament) and I think the study of the book of Exodus will be awesome.  The stories are great!!

Prayer: “ Lord, please help me today to remember that the instruments You use for measuring greatness are very different than the ones we use.  The way You measure greatness is the only one that really matters.  Please help me to make the right decisions today and to seek Your approval. Amen.”

“Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be our servant. And whoever  desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many?”
Matthew 20:  26-28

Who do we look on as great?  Is the title great given to the one who has the most, is first in their class, is the best, the wealthiest, the fastest, or someone who has profound achievements?  We celebrate great victories in sports and elections.  But when do we consider a servant to be great among us? There are many people who work in the service industry but are paid low salaries.  Yet it is those who serve as teachers, firemen, police officers, city workers and others who offer themselves each day who make a profound difference in each of our lives. 

God does not look at greatness by worldly standards.  God values the kindness of our hearts and the way we treat others as greatness.  When we begin to see others as Christ sees them, that causes others to see themselves as Christ sees them - as children of God.  The values of the King of heaven and the heavenly realm are far different than the values of the world. 

Many folks look to the heroes of this world to model their lives.  Perhaps we need to look to the greatest servant as our example to model our lives.  For only those who are servants of God understand what Jesus meant by greatness and to live their lives in the footsteps and with the character of Christ.  In this world those who are looked upon as great stand on stages and receive applause and praise.  Our finest and most humble example of greatness never stood on a stage, but hung on a cross and served those who hung with Him. 

Take joy in this journey. Wear comfortable shoes, throw an extra blanket on the bed, stay warm and get some sleep.  The weather is supposed to be a bit treacherous tomorrow so be extra careful.  Count your blessings and say your prayers.  Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni, Travis and Sarah.     

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe and I believe God. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy Wednesday! 

Today, Geni and I were invited to accompany Sarah, my daughter-in-love, to shop for her wedding dress.  I have never entered a bridal shop before as my grandmother made my wedding dress 32 years ago.  Two of Sarah’s bridesmaids were present so they shopped for dresses, too.  Today was not only fun but successful as the bride and the bridesmaids selected dresses and they have been ordered!! It was great fun!

Prayer:  “Lord, help me to remember all of the benefits You bring into my life. Sometimes I get so preoccupied with the concerns of life that I simply fail to pause and remember all You do for me. Because You are the God of my salvation, please save me from my own selfishness. Help me to take the time and really consider all the good things that I receive directly from Your hand. I want to be mindful of all Your benefits. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

“Blessed be the LORD, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! Selah.”
Psalm 68: 19

According to my meditation the word Selah is equated to the musical word for rest. In music rest is a brief silence in the music of varying lengths as the composer has written.  So perhaps we should take a moment of silence or rest and reflect, contemplate and let God’s Word soak itself into our heads until it has found its way into our hearts. 

How often do we stop long enough to contemplate the benefits we have as children of God?  You know there are occupations out there that carry no benefits.  Benefits are often the perks that come with the package of being employed by a company.  Being children of God, we are not employees, we are family.  Our benefits never change.  We have the benefits of eternal salvation, forgiveness, grace, love and tender mercies for all eternity with the assurance that the storehouse of these benefits will never be emptied!

We are not only children of God, but we are also servants of God.  More of our benefits include life, love, purpose, friendship, community and peace.  Our God is a God of generosity who provides.  As we serve God each day let us remember to bless God’s name and forget none of the benefits.

Take joy in this new journey of 2013.  Wear comfortable shoes, throw an extra blanket on the bed and get some sleep.  Count your blessings and benefits and say your prayers. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni, Travis and Sarah.     

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe and I believe God. 

Happy New Year and welcome to 2013! 

I really love a quiet New Year’s eve and day!  We rediscovered Netflix yesterday and today. We saw part of the Spike Jones Show! Those suits!!! It is probably a good thing TV wasn't in color in 1951. Then we had a wonderful dinner with Geni, Travis and Sarah this evening.  There was much talk of the wedding and lists were made tonight.   It was a wonderful way to spend our anniversary, surrounded by family and eating comfort food that included the traditional blackeyed peas and having great fun around the table.  The kids all played Wii and I loved hearing the shouts and laughter as they played Mario. 

Tomorrow Geni and I will go wedding dress shopping with Sarah and her Mom.  I think everyone has plans to begin the diet tomorrow, too!!!

Prayer:  Lord, help me to remember today that I am asked to honor You in all parts of my life.  Remind me when work gets too tedious and life at home or school gets hectic and I am tempted to do less than my best that You want me to work, live and love with all my heart.  While I want to do well at school, church and with family that the One I want to please most is You.  Thank you for health and the ability to live a life of purpose led by Your guiding hand.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

“Bondservants, obey in all things your masters accordingly to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God.  And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance for you serve the Lord Christ.”
Colossians 3: 22-24

One of the words Bruce has taught me over the last 32 years is the word compartmentalization. I have learned that this word means that there are those who live each part of their lives in different ways.  We live a home life, a working life, (for me) a school life, and a worship life.  There are those folks that act differently in each part of their lives.  They think differently, treat others differently and act differently. Scripture tells us that whatever we do and wherever we do it, we should do as unto the Lord. We should talk, speak and treat others with the same spiritual graces afforded to us by the Lord, Jesus Christ because of His love for us.  God says we are to do all things; our home lives, our jobs, our school and our worship as though we were working for Him. When we treat others as God would treat them then the kingdom of God is expanded with each member giving their best.  As believers in Christ it is our task to lead the way in all of the aspects of our lives because of the difference God has made in each of us. 

Take joy in the journey of 2013.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  God watches over each of us and slumbers not nor sleeps so only one of us needs to be awake tonight.  Count your blessings and say your prayers.  Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni, Travis and Sarah.     

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe and I believe God. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Prayer:  Lord, help me today to serve You with a heart that is filled with joy overflowing.  You are my Great Shepherd and You will take care of me because I belong to You. Whatever assignment You have for me today please help me to meet it with a song in my heart because of Your presence within me.  Of all the titles I bear, first and foremost I am Your servant. Give me the power to represent You in the way You desire. Amen.

“Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”

Psalm 100: 2, 3

Do you have reasons for going to the restaurants or businesses you regularly frequent?  I do.  The place where I get my oil changed knows that I do not drive over that hole in the bay. So when I drive up they greet me by name and drive my car into the bay.  When I go to Brighton they call me by name, offer me a pretty bottle of water and a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie.  Both of these places have fine product, but more importantly they provide consistent personal service. The attitude with which these clerks treat their customers is what sells the business.

The attitude we use as servants of Christ is what leaves the impression on people as to the character of God.  We serve God in the name of Jesus.  The verse today commands us to “serve the Lord with gladness.”  It is not just the service we provide it is the attitude with which we provide it that is important to God. When the opportunity to serve God today occurs, serve God with a glad and thankful heart.  We belong to God and we represent the kingdom of the Most High. May we see others as God sees them and serve them as God would serve them.

Take joy in the journey.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Count your blessings, give thanks and say your prayers.  Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni, Travis and Sarah.     

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe and I believe God.